Sugar and Snails

Sarah Tsiang, illus. by Sonja Wimmer. Annick (PGW, dist.), $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-77321-005-6
A boy, a girl, and an elderly man—presumably their grandfather—deconstruct the saying that boys are made of snails and puppy dog tails and girls from sugar and spice. Tsiang (The Stone Hatchlings) opens with the three sitting around the breakfast table, but they’re quickly transported into a freewheeling world of imagination as they debate the rhyme. “I don’t wear dresses!” insists the girl after the man suggests that girls might instead be made of “Dresses and sweets and everything neat.” (Oddly, she’s wearing a dress when she makes this claim.) Soon, their ideas are flying back and forth, letting Wimmer (A Surprise for Mrs. Tortoise) run wild with the possibilities in her surreal mixed-media caricatures. “Maybe it was that boys are made of lightning and newts... and rubber rain boots,” writes Tsiang as the boy, dressed like a superhero, launches skyward on a slice of toast. Whimsical transformations come fast and furious, and, although the text is framed in binary boy-girl terms, readers will sense that stereotypes and norms are dissolving with each page turn. Ages 4–7. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/08/2018
Release date: 03/01/2018
Genre: Children's
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